Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fragments of a liturgical world: Syriac Christianity and the Dutch multiculturalism debates
by Bakker, Sarah, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2013, 314; 3589305
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the reconfiguration of Syriac Orthodox liturgical tradition among Aramaic-speaking Christian refugees in the Netherlands. Under the pressures of Dutch integration policy and the global politics of secular recognition, the Syriac liturgy is rapidly losing its significance as the central axis of social life and kinship-relations in the Syriac Orthodox diaspora. As such, it has become a site for debate over how to be religiously, culturally, and ethnically distinct despite the narrative binary of Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East that dominates Dutch multiculturalism discourse. Every week, young Syriac Orthodox women and men congregate at their churches to practice singing the liturgy in classical Syriac. What they sing, and how they decide to sing it, mediates their experiments in religious and ethical reinvention, with implications for their efforts at political representation. Singers contend not only with conditions of inaudibility produced by histories of ethnic cleansing, migration, and assimilation, but also with the fragments of European Christianity that shape the sensory regime of secular modernity. Public debates over the integration of religious minorities illuminate this condition of fragmentation, as well as the contest over competing conceptions of ethical personhood inherent in the politics of pluralism in Europe.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Caldwell, Melissa L.
Commitee: Ashbrook Harvey, Susan, Brenneis, Donald, Fernando, Mayanthi
School: University of California, Santa Cruz
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Religion, Cultural anthropology, Music
Keywords: Christianity, Ethics, Europe, Middle Eastern minorities, Netherlands, Performance studies, Religious pluralism, Secularism, Syriac Orthodox
Publication Number: 3589305
ISBN: 9781303278037
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